Changes Needed in Operating Military Clubs and Alcohol Package Stores:

Volume 1

FPCD-79-9: Published: Jan 15, 1979. Publicly Released: Apr 27, 1979.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

The Department of Defense (DOD) believes the military club system and related alcohol package store operations are vitally important to the morale of servicemen. However, the system is having considerable financial difficulties. GAO studied the operation and management of military service clubs and related alcoholic beverge store operations.

Military clubs generally consist of separate physical facilities for officers, noncommissioned officers, and enlisted personnel with a consolidated alcohol beverage package store to serve all personnel. These entities constitute a major business enterprise with gross sales revenues in the millions. Package store operations are profitable. However, reliance on package store profits not only serves as a disincentive to effective and efficient management but is also inconsistent with congressional intent that these profits benefit all personnel. Clubs are also dependent on appropriated fund support. Military personnel costs constitute a major portion of appropriated fund support which is inconsistent with the DOD policy that civilians be employed in morale, welfare, and recreational activites to the extent practicable. Some of the problems within the club system can be corrected through effective and innovative management. The current decentralized management approach provides installation commanders with almost ultimate unlimited flexibility in club operations and their actions are not always in the best interest of the clubs.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should: (1) stengthen management of the system by transferring responsibility for club operations from installation commanders to a strong central management authority; (2) direct that profits from package store operations be used primarily to support essential morale, welfare, and recreation activities benefiting all base personnel; (3) direct that package store and club operations be separated as they have been by the Army and the Air Force in Europe to provide a clearer picture of club operations and package store distributions; (4) direct that dependence on appropriated fund support to clubs be reduced and that the services civilianize club operations to the maximum extent practicable using appropriated funds; and (5) direct the military services to seriously consider consolidating club services when all attempts at achieving self-sufficiency have proven unsuccessful.

    Agency Affected:


Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Feb 8, 2018

Feb 6, 2018

Dec 21, 2017

Dec 7, 2017

Nov 20, 2017

Oct 26, 2017

Oct 23, 2017

Jun 22, 2017

May 30, 2017

May 18, 2017

Looking for more? Browse all our products here